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When I'm wondering about weather folklore and historical events this is the man I go to. With more than 50 years of statistical and observational research, he's the dude! When it comes to lunar cycles, woolly bear caterpillars, insects, bugs, and animals, he tracks them, records them, and establishes ties to weather patterns. Only one person takes climatology to a level like this. His name is Steve Gottschalk by way of Lowden, Iowa. He's a knowledgeable and interesting man. I'm grateful to him for lending his unique perspective to the site. Steve's "wild" world of weather can be found regularly right here on Take it away Steve!

October Of 1953 Was Warm And Dry

The statewide average temperature was 58.1 which was 5.6 degrees above normal. It was the 5th warmest October up to this time. The maximum reading was 96 at Fairfield and Oskaloosa on the 2nd. Some other readings were:

Vinton - 94

Belle Plaine - 93

Iowa City - 93

Cedar Rapids - 92

The coldest reading was 19 at Spencer and Vinton on the 29th.

It was the 4th driest up to this time with the state average precipitation of 0.48". The greatest total was 2.60" at Emerson and the smallest total was 0.00" at Britt. The continuing drought started in the S.E. part of the state at the close of June and had spread across all but the NW part of the state by the middle of August. Most farmers had to haul water for livestock and domestic use, especially in the S.C. part of the state. There were numerous grass fires. An elderly Des Moines man was caught in a grass fire and died. There were quite a few cornfield fires during the harvest.

Smokey Skies

Smoke plume of Lake Michigan

We had 7 days so far this season with a smoky sky from distant forest fire, namely September 8-10th and the 13th-16th. Last year we had 24 smoky days in July, 14 in August and 5 in September.

Woolly Bear Caterpillar Update

I found my first woolly bear on the 7th and received a few more reports during the past week and now have a total of 21 of them. They are still showing a normal to colder than normal winter.

The Earthquake Of October 31, 1895

On October 31, 1895 an earthquake shook a good portion of the Midwest. The epicenter originated from S.E. Missouri, near the New Madrid area and there were 3 distinct waves of motion. The E. and S.E. districts of Iowa felt it the most. Here is what some of the weather observers across the state had to say about it:

Cedar Rapids - The earthquake shocks on the 31st were distinctly felt here, apparent direction from S.E. to N.W. The motion was sufficient enough to leave a distinct record on the thermographic sheet at a little past 5:00 a.m.

Dubuque - A shock of earthquake was felt here on the 31st at 5:15 a.m., lasting about 30 seconds.

Iowa City - On the 31st, at about 5:00 a.m., occurred an earthquake shock lasting about 1 minute.

My Old Country Almanac For The week Of October 13th-19th

This week in October usually sees 2 days with measurable rainfall but can vary from 0 days to 5 days. The probability of seeing 1" or more of rain on any one day this week is 15%. The day with the highest probability of rain is the 15th with 50%. The lowest is the 18th with 23%. There are usually 3 clear days, 1 partly cloudy day, 3 cloudy days and 4 windy days during the week.

Oct. 13th - On this date in 1975, unseasonably warm weather across the state, Logan - 93 and Lowden - 90.

Oct. 14th - The moon is close to Mars this evening. "When squirrels are seldom seen in the fall, a cold winter can be anticipated."

Oct. 15th - On this day in 1880, a storm of wind, rain and hail swept over the area damaging the crops.

Oct. 16th - St. Gallus Day, "No rain on Gallus, a dry spring will follow." Look for warmer temperatures, wind and maybe some rain.

Oct. 17th - Last Quarter Moon. Look for cooler temperatures, wind and maybe some rain. On this day in 1859, we had our first snowstorm of the season.

Oct. 18th - St. Luke's Little Summer, a spell of fine and dry weather. On this day in 1972, 2" of snow fell at Osage, Gilman, Swea City and Lowden.

Oct. 19th - On this day in 1972, very cold temperatures followed the snowfall with lows of 8 at Hawarden, 13 at Lowden and 19 at Anamosa.

Storm of The Week

On October 19, 1982 a very intense storm system produced some severe weather followed by heavy snow across the northern half of the state. During the day of the 19th thunderstorms swept across the region with quarter size hail falling for more than 10 minutes at Cleghorn in Cherokee County, accumulating to 3,000 lbs. on the scale at the farmers coop elevator. Later that night and into the morning of the 20th, snow fell with Sioux City, Akron, Hawarden and Sibley receiving 8.0", Rock Rapids - 7.0", Cresco - 4.0", Independence - 3.0", Decorah - 2.0" and New Hampton - 1.5".

That's all I have for you this week. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.


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